How to Manage Change; lessons from 9 years as a coach

This week marks my 9th anniversary since setting up my Leadership Development and Coaching business with my business partner and long term friend Jo. We’ll be raising a toast on a business trip in Jersey this week and no doubt reflecting over the last 9 years.

If it’s one thing 9 years as a coach has taught me, it’s how to manage change. 

In these past 9 years I’ve seen the leadership development and coaching industry change radically, I’ve had to learn how to build a business that is agile and adaptable, and personally I’ve had to develop patience, resilience and confidence as I stumbled through finding a way to manage a business and 3 babies! 

So, what have I learnt about how to manage change over the years? Here’s my round up….

1. As life changes, you need make changes too

I have the honour of coaching leaders every week, and one issue that comes up time and time again is that people trade on outdated strategies.

As we get older, our lives change. This is a fact.

Maybe we have a family, or, we find out we can’t have a family. Perhaps we become carers for elderly relatives married to wives and husbands of frustrated, stressed spouses! Companies grow, businesses fold, roles change. Nothing is static. 

Many people I’ve coached over the years have their heads down and try to carry on doing what they’ve always done, only to find that it doesn’t work for them any more. For example, climbing the corporate ladder and getting bigger and bigger jobs. It’s what they’ve always done, but at some point they realise they’re stressed and haven’t put their kids to bed for a month. Thing is….it’s hard to see how to make life any different. 

The good news is, change isn’t as hard as it may seem

One of the best things for managing change is to learn what you need, and that comes down to learning about your values. Your values are unconscious needs that, when met, bring you joy, fulfilment and satisfaction. But when they’re not met, you find frustration, boredom or stress. 

It’s easy to lose sight of what’s important to you when you’re head down trying to create a life for yourself. The irony is that life is what you’re doing whilst you’re busy creating. 

So what’s my point here….

How to manage change tip #1 is……Update your awareness of what you need by learning about your values.

AND if you’re interested in learning more about Values then check out my previous blog “Values: your secret weapon to finding fulfilment”

Or, if you know you want to invest some time finding out about your values, then take a look at my short course “Unlock Your Career Clarity” which is designed to help you to uncover your needs so you can make clear, confident decisions about your career next steps

2. Change is only hard in our minds

Whether you find change exciting or challenging, the bigger the change gets the harder it may begin to seem. One thing I’ve learned is that change is only made hard by our mindset. 

I remember having a conversation with my business partner – and fellow coach – Jo. After 5 house moves in 5 years, I was so tired of moving. I wanted a ‘home’ and a base for my business and family. There were lots of reasons why this was challenging and I had them all laid out in my head.

On a rainy long car journey Jo very skilfully helped me to see how I’d got stuck by seeing only problems and challenges. I had shut down possibilities and ignored several options. 3 hours later, I returned home to my unsuspecting husband and told him we were going to buy a house. And that is exactly what we did. 

Our minds are a supercomputer that have to make sense of the world to do this we delete, distort and generalise.

So, when it comes to change, everything that previously made sense is thrown up in the air. 

We have to learn how to manage change.

I’m lucky to have a talented coach as a friend and business partner.

When you’re experiencing or considering making changes in your work or life, I recommend you enlist the help of a good coach.

Decisions that seem hard now can be made a lot easier when you look at it from multiple perspectives and learn to overcome the obstacles that are causing you to think of the decision as hard. 

It doesn’t matter how talented you are in helping others, or how well you’ve previously managed change, we all get stuck in our mindset. So my tip #2 on how to manage change is…..

Work with someone to challenge your mindset because you get stuck in your own thinking (even if you’re a coach yourself 😉 

AND if you’re considering making some critical decisions in your career then check out my blog “How to ensure you make good career decisions” 

3. You can figure anything out

Two of the mantra’s I’ve adopted over the years is “I can do difficult things” and “I can figure everything out”. 

These two beliefs go hand in hand, and a big dose of patience and courage!

The reason why I like them so much is because they’re true.

Humans do difficult things all the time, and so long as you hold the belief that you can figure everything out, then you will, because you’ll keep searching for the solutions until you find one that works. 

Your beliefs dictate your experience of how you manage change, because we act as if our beliefs are true.

We perceive our beliefs as facts, and this is fine where your beliefs are helpful, but not so good when your beliefs limit you or hold you back.

Changing unhelpful beliefs, into empowering beliefs has formed a lot of the core work I do with clients, and it has transformational results. 

So, if you want to make changes in your work, or life, then ask yourself what are you believing about the change? You might find that you’re limiting yourself by choosing to believe something that’s unhelpful. 

Changing your beliefs may not be easy work. It’s a bit like developing new habits, it takes practice. AND if you find you have some deep rooted beliefs that are significantly holding you back, some coaches, like myself and Jo, have specialised tools and techniques that can enable rapid change. 

So my ‘how to manage change’ tip #3 is……..Discover your limiting beliefs and develop empowering ones in their place

4. Have fun!

There’s a lot of change that we can control.

As you probably know goals are a core part of coaching.

I see goals as planning for the fulfilment of your values.

Nothing ever stays the same and that can be exciting when you’re riding the wave with the change.

When you set your own goals and regularly step outside of your comfort zone, you’re developing your resilience to be change agile and change ready. You teach yourself how to influence your life and seek more of what you need. 

So my “how to manage change” tip #4 is……. Make goal setting a habit

5. Cut ties to the outcome….

This one comes from my experience as a coach and leader. 

When you’re attached to the outcome of an action or a decision it can cripple you from making change. 

For example, you think you might want to leave your current role and do something different instead. Being attached to the outcome means that you’re focused on whether this is the right decision or not, you’ll probably spend time worrying about it, or thinking through every eventuality. You end up down rabbit holes trying to work out if you’re doing the right thing. 

Cutting ties to the outcome means that you focus on the information you have in the present and make your decisions based on this. We can’t predict the future, or the outcomes of our decisions and when we’re attached to the outcome it creates pressure and gives rise to fear. 

When you cut ties to the outcome your head is clear, and you’re back in control. 

So my “how to manage change” tip #5 is…….Act with the information you have in the present and cut ties to the outcome

So there you go. 5 tips gained from my 9 years of experience as a coach. And if you find yourself in a place where you’re trying to decide what changes to make in your career then take a look at my free online workshop below. I’d be delighted to see you there 🙂 


 "3 Success Secrets You Need to Become UNSTUCK, CLEAR and CONFIDENT About Your Career Next Steps"
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